Thank you for your interest in pet therapy! This page provides answers to some of the most important and commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, please call 608-258-6640.
Q: How long has SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Madison had a Pet Therapy Program?
A: The program started in 2004 with a single
team and has grown to more than 20 teams visiting most of the hospitals, plus
the SSM Health Emergency Center in Sun Prairie.
Q: What kind of certification or registration is required?
A: SSM Health St. Mary's and many other facilities require teams to be registered with one of three national pet therapy organizations:
Q: Can SSM Health St. Mary's help cover the costs required to get registered?
A: Yes, SSM Health St. Mary’s has a scholarship
program intended to assist Madison-area teams interested in Pet Therapy. The
scholarship is open to all, as it is intended to help cover some of the
additional costs incurred by pet therapy volunteers. Download the scholarship application.
Q: Are there set times that I need to bring my pet in to visit?
A: teams can set either flexible or structured schedules during weekdays, weeknights and/or weekends. Teams are expected to visit at least once per month.
Q: Is it possible to follow a team on a visit to learn more about the SSM Health St. Mary's Pet Therapy program?
A: Yes, there are opportunities to shadow a team on a visit if you are interested in seeing whether you or your dog would enjoy the atmosphere at SSM Health St. Mary's.
Q: Does a therapy dog have to be as well trained as a service dog?
A: Most of the time, dogs that participate in pet therapy are family pets; they are not expected to be as well behaved as a service dog. If your dog is obedient and is comfortable going into new and different situations, they may already be well on their way to becoming a therapy dog.